Gratuitous Color Shot #6 and #7: Trick + Treat

I can’t say that I’ve been having a lot of fun lately, but I CAN say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the fun I’ve been having. Treats have brought much more pleasure than expected and mild tricks have turned out to be brilliantly-colored delights.

In the spirit of Halloween, then, I’m violating my usual SOP and using one of Ms Eileen’s portraits as a Gratuitous Color Shot.


What can I say? Tromping around a local farm with Eileen was such a blast and her photo of me was so deliciously lush that I couldn’t resist sharing another reminder of our day together…with her permission, of course.

Despite the fact that doing so means I’m featuring 2 pumpkin shots in a row.

Ms Eileen provides the clue that solves the case: OBVIOUSLY it was ‘Vix in the Zinnia Patch with a Demonically Possessed Pumpkin’

Hmmmm; that’s a lot of pumpkin love coming out of the ether. Sure, the color is magical during this time of year, but maybe my lazy subconscious is actually at work?

…pumpkins symbolize prosperity, abundance, descendant’s luck, illustrious children, and enchantment

…pumpkin juice calms down the nervous system

…Cinderella’s masquerade as a wealthy young woman owes a great deal to the transformation of a pumpkin into a (very temporary) coach

…the Gopikas looked upon the pumpkin as a symbol of large-heartedness

…pumpkins are associated with sex and sexuality, fertility, vitality, moisture, creative power, rapid growth, and sudden death

Damn, when my subconscious gets off its arse it doesn’t mess around!

But what of my other recent obsession, the Laughably Short But Ridiculously Wonderful Ferry Ride?

What subterranean meaning doth a $2, 580-foot ferry ride—taken when Mr Vix and I unexpectedly found ourself at a river bank with no other way across, other than walking—haveth?

The 580-foot ferry trip: It takes longer to read this caption than to cross on the Wheatland Ferry

Well, if one is at a tarot card reading, the news isn’t great: apparently, boats tend to forecast that four-letter word, WORK:

Boat symbolism in the tarot reminds us of our responsibility to navigate through emotional tides of life. Furthermore, boats are the vehicle in our energetic seas of existence.

…[R]ecall themes of navigation in ships and boats. Also remember that it is a vehicle in which to move from point “a” to point “b.” Metaphorically speaking, our will is our vehicle—how we navigate it will be either the wind in our sail, or the storm on our seas.

My will is my vehicle?

Now if that isn’t a scary thought to someone prone to (mentally) going around in circles and (literally) crashing into things, I don’t know what is. Next year I hope my subconscious just says “BOO!” and is done with it….


As I hit the age where people stop automatically using “untimely demise” to describe one’s death, I’m still working on getting a Venn diagram where “something at which I excel” overlaps with “something about which I feel passionate” and creates a ménage à trois with “something financially feasible.”

Because while I’ve had jobs I liked well enough and I’ve had jobs that made moonshine seem like an appealing breakfast treat, I’ve never actually been in love with a profession.


So I exhale green-tinged sighs when I meet people who have always known PRECISELY what they wanted to do for a living. Though potentially a frying pan/fire situation, I immediately want to exchange souls with them. And–lest I be accused of age discrimination–I’m also ready to swap with anyone who discovered his or her calling later in life.

Clearly I’d be better off if I were the type of person who could cheat on a ho-hum job with exciting, fulfilling hobbies. Then I wouldn’t need to be in love with what I do for hours and hours of my day, dammit. But as Mr Vix likes to remind me when I’m in the throes of existential despair:

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

While I look for my niche, I’ll continue to be intrigued by where people work, how they work, and why they work. And to be selectively fascinated by what their labors produce. Because sometimes we make our own destiny, and sometimes our destiny just manifests.

…it’s a big world out there, and each corner seems full of ways to create, repair, maintain, and evolve…

(clockwise from left: Torcello’s wild abandon holds traces of its 20,000 former inhabitants; an upper terrace at Fortuny’s palazzo/studio-turned-museum (see an official shot of Fortuny’s library); contemplation during cobblestone repair; a Missoni colorway holds echoes of Italy; workers pass a former monastery; family and fishing boats rest while laundry dries)


I woke up one day last winter and realized that, apart from a short family-based trip, I hadn’t left the U.S. in 20 years. I’m still not sure how I let that happen; granted, I have a tendency to sleepwalk through my life when I’m not making fairly substantial changes but REALLY.

While financially it was not a great time for me to travel farther than the corner market, I was determined to celebrate my 40th by going somewhere I’d always wanted to see, someplace crumbling and splendid, bustling and languid, illusory and workaday.

Someplace as contradictory as I was feeling.

So I started making plans, and once Mr Vix got on board, we even decided to squeeze in a little second-city stop-off on the way home. Though of course I would have loved to roam even longer.

…my trip made me as happy as a raisin in a rum cake, and today’s a day I need to revisit the smaller moments that made me smile…

(top to bottom: Mr Vix wandering in Venice; Amsterdam carnival vendor; a midnight vap rider brightens the Venetian scene; Amsterdam window display; strutting it Amsterdam style; old meets new on an Amsterdam canal bank; a central city carnival flashes against Amsterdam’s grey sky; Murano factory sign; orange bag huddle on the Riva degli Schiavoni; memento from G. Nason’s studio)

Sidestepping toward style [pt 3]

Lead-ups to this post: PreamblePt 1Pt 2

Once I decided to thumb my nose at the clothing market’s easy-but-WRONG-pickings and go off the grid for a dress, the waiting began.

In the proverbial Wildean triumph of hope over experience, I always remember that I am rabidly impatient and a fiend for instant gratification AFTER I commit to a project or path. Now I know one can ask a bear to pass up one’s flesh. And I know one can ask a project to stay on track. But sister, I also know that ain’t neither gonna happen, and my ridiculous optimism annoys me.

Once the whole nature/course hookup reaches a certain stage, it generally results in me pawing through the cupboard looking for teabags with Eastern quotations about detachment, which inevitably leads me to remember the old friend who said, in genuine non-mocking bewilderment:

You’re trying to be ‘Zen about it?’ But you’re the least Zen person I know!”


To go from clutched fabric sample to actual garment, I had to experience the cutest little obstacle course of timeline scheduling holdups and misbehaving fabric challenges plus a rather hellacious stretch lining experiment that left me looking like a stuffed sausage covered in teats.

But in the words of Poison:

Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn”

Happily, though, the Dress of a Thousand Nipples currently hangs in my closet. And what thread has joined let no body parts tear asunder.

No fancy camera set up, sorry!

The fabric tends to ripple with movement before sliding back into place...I like!

The fabric tends to ripple with movement, then slide back into place...I like!

My one-eyed fish look PLUS arty stripes!

How fun are these vintage crystal earrings? Singular here, yes]

How fun are these vintage crystal earrings...singular here, yes

As for the poor designer, who hadn’t anticipated QUITE as much trouble making up the pattern in stretch silk vs the jersey they were selling? Well, she stayed remarkably calm through a rather tedious process and emerged with a happy client.

I bet she reads a lot of teabag wrappers.

Sidestepping toward style [pt 1]

Earlier, I recalled how I felt compelled to invest time, energy, and money into a customized dress instead of putting those resources into something more noble, such as solving the world’s energy crisis or paying down yet MORE of my student loan debt.

Back in the day, I had a very broad definition of how I thought clothing should fit me; I’d say it ranged from close to my actual size to infinity. With that as a framework, my pre-intervention self rarely considered how certain clothing shapes flattered or made hash of particular body types.

Unfortunately, my open-mindedness was documented in visual forms, some of which remain tacked to my mother’s hallway bulletin board. At least no one’s put my permed, Byrne-shouldered past on Facebook. Yet.

But as I’ve copped to being a fairly mainstream clothing size, just how much Wednesday’s-child-full-of-woe can I possibly have about clothing fit? Rather a lot, as it turns out, but hey: angsty late bloomers need love too!

Surely the tender-hearted will cut me some slack when they hear that among other proportion issues, my natural waist means I have this going on:

Martin Short as Ed Grimley

As a result, skirts and dresses with actual waists–and even worse, belts–are off-limits to me 99% of the time. And that makes me sad, ok?

Sure, I may be blithely tripping down the street in my untucked knit tops, twinkling at all the be-waisted ensembles I spy. But inside it’s all Smokey singing The Tracks of My Tears, or maybe The Tears of a (Self-Centered) Clown. God bless Mr Robinson, I’m spoiled for choice.

So imagine my happiness when I found a pretty jersey dress that ALMOST worked, and was told by the designer that she could make it work-work by altering the pattern’s waist, hips, and arms. It was like I’d died and gone back to the days of dressmakers!

When she added that I could always choose another fabric for it I went into the Trace of Rationalization.

FACT: My 10-year-old LBD has more than worn out its welcome and has started fraying.

FACT: Jersey is nicely sedate, but a sportswear-inspired dress shape in a stretch silk print could work even in low-key Latteville.

FACT: A midlife crisis needs some shallow!


Next: Part 2 of Sidestepping toward style, aka “Uh-oh”